This Antifragility material is all about strengthening up, improving flexibility and robustness – aiming at being able to handle what life throws at you, rather than being athletic enough to perform acrobatics. It allows us to understand what right movement feels like, what breathing into movement feels like in the body fabric. To understand posture. To understand what it mean to breath well. To understand what well-being feels like. To understand the art of mindfulness, of what we do with our focus of attention, of concentration and the deep calm that comes through stillness. All rooted in a pragmatic, practical common sense. Practising this, be as well as you can be, as calm and grounded as you can be, robust enough to handle life, be as decent and compassionate as you can be – be human as well as you know how. [see Antifragility Summary]
There are four stages to practice:
- learning the techniques
- practising those techniques
- selecting an aim, along with the techniques relevant to that aim and then practising towards that aim or goal
- achieving that aim or goal
It is easy to get stuck in stages 1 and 2, or define an aim in the context of stage 1 or 2. From this we get, “I practice yoga because I like the feel of doing it”, “I practice yoga to get fit / loose weight / get a tight bum”. That is not wrong, but there is more to the human experience than the body-fabric – there is more to yoga than asana or physical exercises. In this material we do work with the body fabric – it is significant to work towards strengthening up, increasing flexibility and improving health generally. Typically asana sessions consist of preparing and warming up, then some good strong work, often with flow sequences, usually in the middle range of movement. Then there is good stretching work, working into end-of-range of movement through the various joints of the body – all with attention to breath and awareness to the quality of movement of the body fabric. These practices lead to a body that functions well.
The Antifragility material also includes breathing work – the Ishana Breath Practices. Ishana means ‘consciousness’. These practices are aimed at learning about how to breathe and practising techniques that enhance and expand breath capacity. Breathing is so vital to life – and as you enhance your breathing, you enhance your vitality. They also build and work with energy and focus of attention. I think of it as ‘consciousness enhancing‘. We work through patterns of preparatory pranayama practices, and classical practices. The scheme of work is designed to be tailored to each individual, so that practice and progress can be unique to each individual. This material is taught as a course of six 2 hour sessions, ideally spread over six months, allowing home practice to really assimilate the practice and make it your own. Courses will suit some, but not everyone. The Ishana Breath material is also available in 2 hour workshops at level 1 and level 2. Obviously, when taught as a workshop there is no structured progression of assimilating and deepening the practice. A part of this work is stressing the importance of home practice. These practices are most effective when they are practiced – and ideally that means regular, steady practice, practice that is woven into daily habit. [Booking Page]
The Antifragility material also includes meditation – the Ishana Meditation Practice. Ishana means ‘consciousness’. These practices are aimed at working with your head-space, with that awareness-perception-thinking knot, and your focus of attention. There are many different meditation techniques. In the Ishana meditation we focus primarily on mantra (a selection of words or phrases) and japa (repetition of that mantra); and also on breath, attention to breath and listening. I think of it as ‘consciousness clarifying‘. If you think of consciousness as a fabric, these practices strengthen it and lead to proper function in the same way as asana strengthens and enhances the body.
This material is taught as a course of six 1 hour sessions, ideally spread over six months, allowing home practice to really assimilate the practice and make it your own. Courses will suit some, but not everyone. The Ishana Meditation material is also available in 2 hour workshops. Obviously, when taught as a workshop there is no structured progression of assimilating and deepening the practice. A part of this work is stressing the importance of home practice. These practices are most effective when they are practiced – and ideally that means regular, steady practice, practice that is woven into daily habit. [Booking Page]
Full Antifragility Ishana Practice
The Antifragility Pratice includes asana practices aimed at improving strength and well being in the physical body-fabric. It also includes the Ishana Practices that are aimed at improving strength and well being in the head-space. These practices will all improve and enhance your experience of being human. I think it is especially effective when all three elements are practised together in a sequence – asana, pranayama and meditation. This is the Antifragility Ishana Practice. This is in two levels. The first, Level 1, is 2 hours – 1 hour asana, ½ hour pranayama and ½ hour meditation. This second, Level 2, is 3 hours – 1 hour asana, 1 hour pranayama and 1 hour meditation. Ideally these are for people who are familiar with the Ishana practices, or the relevant knowledge. The main emphasis here is that it is an opportunity to practice – rather than as a teaching session. [Booking Page]
We cannot practice in this way without having an affect on those around us, on the world around us.
I like to think of engaging with these practices for the betterment of myself, and the world around me.